Spa Treatments You Could Eat
4 Beauty Rituals That Make You Feel Like You’re on the Menu
I’m a fan of any therapy that involves eating chocolate, but what about beauty rituals that include immersing yourself in the rich, yummy stuff? Or soaking yourself in sake? Or getting rubbed down with tequila? Or slathered in caviar?
All of these food and drink based therapies are for real and may be offered at a spa near you. To discover what it feels like to be a delicious dessert or a tantalizing cocktail while simultaneously beautifying yourself, read on.
The Spa at Hotel Hershey, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, specializes in all kinds of scrumptious treatments, including a whipped cocoa bath, a Peppermint Pattie body treatment, and a chocolate bean polish.
The Chocolate Spa is part of the Hershey Resort, which is near Hersheypark, a theme park filled with rides, attractions, and, of course, chocolate treats. So send the family off to the park and indulge in a day of chocolate-based relaxation and beautification at the spa.
Good science? Surprisingly, yes. The fats in cacao beans (the source of chocolate) are moisturizing for the skin, the beans are loaded with antioxidants (more than even goji berries or blueberries) that fight free radicals, and the fragrance is a well-recognized mood booster.
I envisioned a person covered in globs of shiny black fish eggs, but caviar facials use a caviar cream, not whole fish roe. These treatments can be found at high-end spas such as the Spa Montage at the Montage resort in Laguna Beach, CA, and the La Prairie Spa at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York City.
These luxury facials, which claim that the protein-rich cream will make your skin more luminous, firmer, and better hydrated are pricey, not least of all because premium Russian or Iranian caviar sells for $250 an ounce or more.
Good science? Maybe not. First of all, protein molecules are large and not easily absorbed by the skin—that’s why products like JAFRA Royal Jelly Global Longevity Balm and Global Longevity Crème are formulated with peptides rather than proteins. Peptides are smaller bits of protein molecules that are better able to penetrate deeper into the skin to rejuvenate it. Second, quality caviar is harvested from the critically endangered sturgeon fish, so caviar isn’t a good choice for beauty enthusiasts who want to follow sustainable, ethical, cruelty-free practices.
Created at the Apuane Spa at the Punta Mita Four Seasons on the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico, the spa’s two tequila massages use the local beverage mixed with sage oil as a therapeutic rub. One of the signature massages also features the application of the edible cactus pads known as nopal for detox and hydration.
Because of the high alcohol content in tequila, it cools the skin, which is pleasant in the Pacific resort’s warm temperatures.
Good science? Yes. There’s a long tradition of using rubbing alcohol (the undrinkable isopropyl alcohol) for massage to reduce inflammation and soreness and tequila’s alcohol (the very drinkable ethyl alcohol) has the same effect. Alcohol cleanses the skin of bacteria as well, but it can be drying, which is why it’s used along with massage oil at the Apuane Spa. Adding a few drops of sage oil gives the blend an antioxidant boost.
As you might expect, therapeutic bathing in Japanese rice wine is more common on spa menus in Japan, but you can find places outside of Asia that offer it, including the Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel in New York City.
Probably the most famous location for sake soaks is Japan’s Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Hot Springs and Amusement Park and Spa Resort, where you can also experience coffee, green-tea, and red-wine baths in the natural hot springs. (The spa also boasts “doctor fish” foot baths, where fish nibble away your dead skin, if you literally want to be on the menu.)
Good science? Yes. Sake contains kojic acid, which you may recognize as an ingredient in creams and lotions that promise to brighten skin. The natural acid diminishes discoloration brought on by too much sun, so it does help to refresh and rejuvenate your skin. So this is one drink that’s probably more beneficial to you on the outside than the inside.
One word of warning: Don’t go into a hot bath after drinking alcohol. It can lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure and you could lose consciousness.